The defending champions have dropped three straight games and are below .500 to start the season, and a quick glance at the injury list shows why: Tonight against Detroit, Brook Lopez will miss his seventh straight game (back), Jrue Holiday will miss his fifth straight (ankle), and Donte DiVincenzo has yet to play this season following offseason foot surgery.
Now add All-Star and Olympian Khris Middleton to the list because he has tested positive or COVID and is in the league’s health and safety protocols.
Khris Middleton has tested positive for COVID-19, per Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer. Team thought he’d originally come down with a cold/flu, but when he didn’t improve he got tested
— Jamal Collier (@JamalCollier) November 2, 2021
Middleton cannot return until he either has two negative coronavirus tests 24 hours apart or 10 days since his first test if he has no symptoms. Whether he is vaccinated or not has no impact on his return, however, vaccinated players around him do not need to quarantine if they had close contact with him (unvaccinated players do have to quarantine).
The injuries have taken their toll on Milwaukee in the short term. Without Lopez dropping back to protect the paint and the defense of Holiday at the point of attack, the usually rock-solid Bucks defense is 22nd in the NBA. The Bucks’ offense is 17th in the league this season, and more time without Middleton will not help that.
However, none of these are long-term issues and the Bucks will get healthy and be a force when the games matter.